John Kerry's Antarctica Visit Begs the Question: Will All This Be for Naught, President Trump?
US Secretary of State John Kerry was on an official visit to Antarctica last week, the New York Times reports. During his two-day trip, Sec. Kerry hiked for hours and listened to scientists explain the various profound changes the Antarctic landscape is showing. "What's been observed in the West Antarctic ice sheet that's so alarming now?" he asked
"We know that sea level has been higher in the past. But sea level doesn't tell you where the ice sheets were melting and what melted, and it doesn't so easily tell you how fast it all happened," Dr. John Stone of the University of Washington answered while showing him maps of the glaciers that are slowly melting because of warmer ocean water. If this goes on, scientists say, coastal cities face destruction, too.
To date, Kerry is the highest-ranking official from the US government to visit the icy continent of Antarctica. This milestone had climate change scientists and activists alike elated. It was, however, cut short, as the results of the 2016 US Elections came out.
Climate diplomats worldwide have expressed their fear that the incoming Trump administration will disregard, or worse counter, global efforts by the Obama administration to address climate change and other environmental issues. In most of his campaign speeches, US President-elect Trump did not mince his words when asked about climate change, going so far as to call it a hoax perpetrated by China to impair the American economy.
On the other hand, Sec. Kerry, whose department's achievements include sealing a deal in Paris in 2015 to reduce the carbon emissions from burning of fossil fuel, limit greenhouse gases, and other conservation efforts to protecting oceans around the world, assured everyone that he will continue his work with climate change even when he leaves his office on January 20.
"If global climate change keeps moving at the pace it is, there are going to be climate refugees, there are going to be climate conflicts, there are going to be food conflicts," he said. "I'm ready to continue to fight. We've made too much progress."